Palace defends Duterte over advice to cops to accept "gifts"
Malacanang has defended President Rodrigo Duterte over his advice to the policemen to accept gifts from other people as it is not a form of bribery.
In a statement on Sunday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo suggested to "see the context where the President is coming from."
"As the local chief executive of Davao City for more than two decades, he witnessed first-hand how local authorities in his city fought tooth and nail with the criminal elements and the dregs of society and how some members of the public showed their appreciation -- through gifts -- in transforming Davao City as one of the safest places in Asia today," said Panelo.
In his speech at the 118th anniversary celebration of the Philippine National Police (PNP) last Friday, the President made a remark allowing the cops to receive gifts out of "generosity."
"If they will give gifts, accept it. It's not bribery. What I mean is if there is generosity in them. What anti-graft (law) said about not accepting gifts is nonsense," Duterte said before police officers.
Panelo, citing the Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, said "unsolicited gifts or presents of small or insignificant value offered or given as a mere ordinary token of gratitude or friendship according to local customs or usage" are exemptions from anti-graft provision.
He also clarified that accepting unsolicited gifts of nominal or insignificant value given to public officials and employee are also exempted under Republic Acts No. 6173 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
"The giving of the gift is simply an appreciation by a thankful community for a job well done performed by the law enforcers whose lives flirt with death every time they step out of their homes," Panelo, also the chief presidential legal counsel, explained.
"Certainly it is not given in anticipation of - or in exchange for - a favor from the members of the police force. The gift giving in fact inspires them to do their work faithfully and efficiently as their toil is not left unnoticed and unappreciated," he added. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS